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Many thanks for your support -- and don't forget to forward this to anyone who you think might want to donate too! My story of doing this crazy adventure is below :)
For my mom:
Most people have never heard of Sjogrens disease before. Sjogrens disease is a chronic autoimmune disorder that causes insufficient moisture production in certain glands of the body. In some cases it can lead to rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and nonhodgkins lymphoma. What my mom lives with everyday because of this disease is disheartening. She never complains and if someone were to ask how she is doing, she would say she is “good”. I am not sure how she functions day to day, her daily symptoms from sjogrens disease are awful. She has extremely dry eyes that cause a feeling of sand or grit in them every time she blinks. She also has an extremely dry mouth and throat, which causes trouble for her when she chews and swallows. Because she doesn’t produce saliva, she has to go to the dentist every 3 months to make sure she doesn’t have dental decay. This also leads to her choking on food at times and it also gave her a decreased sense of taste. Additionally, she has dry skin from sjogrens. This is problematic because she can only shower once a week and also has developed skin rashes occasionally. She also has to use eardrops on a daily basis. Even with using the eardrops, her ears itch 24/7.
Not only does she have the symptoms that affect the moisture producing cavities, but she also has some internal symptoms form sjogrens. One of them is a neurological problem that causes memory issues called “brain fog”. Mom can't remember certain conversations at times and often forgets she asks the same question several times. She also has raynauds phenomenon, which is a disorder that affects blood vessels in the fingers, toes, ears and nose. This causes severe pain to her fingers and toes when the weather turns colder. Her muscles and joints are always in pain. Her liver function and white blood cell count are abnormal. She has thyroid disease and last December had 2 benign tumors removed from her thyroid. Although she has all these symptoms, her biggest complaint is excessive fatigue. If she had a big weekend planned, it could put her in bed for up to 2 weeks after the weekend.
Furthermore, she also has complex regional pain syndrome (a severe nerve pain that never quits), occipital neuralgia (gives her a headache and feels like thunder and lightening are going off in her head all the time), and fibromyalgia (widespread muscle pain due to the nervous system firing all the time).
With all this being said, I am dedicating my run to my mom. My mom is an incredible woman. She is very strong and supportive to her family and I am proud to be her daughter. She is always positive even when we can tell her symptoms are at their worst. I am not sure how she wakes up every morning with a positive attitude. The challenge of running a marathon is nothing compared to what my mom and other people with sjogrens go through on a daily basis. Please help support this cause by donating money for research on how to help manage the symptoms and help find a cure for this autoimmune disease.